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Topsfield Historical Society 
Local Lore Newsletter 


Collection 




Local Lore 


January, 2013 
Issue 94 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address fhttD://www.topsfieldhistorv.ora) Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



William Lloyd Garrison 

There is a statute in Newburyport’s 
Brown Square of William Lloyd 
Garrison who was born in 
Newburyport in 1805 and who 
devoted most of his life to the 
abolishment of slavery in the 
United States. His newspaper, 

The Free Press, first published in 
Newburyport, triggered the 
abolitionist movement in America. 
He also founded the Anti-Slavery 
Society and was an ardent 
supporter of the underground 
railroad, which aided escaping 
slaves from southern states. 
Because of his uncompromising 
position on the issue of slavery. 
Garrison was considered a radical 
id even a dangerous figure, not 
^^ly by the slave-owners in the 
south, but by many northern 
merchants whose businesses 
thrived on slavery. Fish from many 
northern ports were sold or traded 
for use as food for Negro slaves. 
Within his lifetime Garrison saw 
the formation of the Republican 
Party, the election of Abraham 
Lincoln, the Civil War and the 
Emancipation Proclamation, all 
related to his cause. 

This information was originally published by Dr. 
Richard W. Hale, Jr., Archivist of the 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1970. 


Passages 

A longtime friend of the Society, 
Attorney Stephen Clark, passed 
away in November. Steve served in 
many town government positions 
including Planning Board member, 
Selectman, Town Moderator and 
Pence Viewer. He was very helpful 
to the Society on those occasions 
when a legal issue arose. He will be 
missed by all those who knew him. 



Thanksgiving Open House 


A near-record 1 75 visitors came to 
the Parson Capen Thanksgiving 
Open House, where they were 
treated to costumed interpreters 
roasting a turkey on the fire, 
playing Colonial games on the 
lawn, and for the first time in many 
years, pressing cider. The cider 
press was operated by Larry 
Lindquist, who along with his wife 
Kathy and daughter Andrea, were 
new volunteers to the event. 


Christmas Party 

Over 50 people enjoyed the 
Holiday spirit at the annual Holiday 
Party in December. In addition to 
the festive food and drink. Bill 
Flagg set the mood with his 
delightful piano music, and the 
Masconomet girls’ singing group 
the Treblemakers made a surprise 
appearance to harmonize popular 
songs of the season. 

Editor Contributors 

Anne Barrett Norm Isler, Hannah Barrett 


Upcoming Events 
Hollywood: 

Wild West to Movie Mecca 

January 13'^, 3 PM 
Anne Barrett 

Love Among the Puritans 

February 10‘^ 3 PM 
Mary Ellen Smiley, Salem Museum 



100 Years Ago... 

Woodrow Wilson takes office 
Federal Income Tax introduced 
Charlie Chaplin begins film career 
Civil War Reunion draws thousands 
NYC’s Grand Central Station opens 


Kids’ Corner 

by Hannah Barrett 


In 1953 Sidney Rosenthal of Richmond 
Hill, New York, invented the marker. The 
idea came about when Sidney placed a 
felt tip on a small bottle of permanent 
ink, and discovered the marks made by 
it were rich and colorful. After that the 
“magic marker” progressed and became 
a very popular writing instrument. 



( 




Local Lore 


February, 2013 
Issue 95 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address (httD://www.topsfieldhistorv.ora) Email; webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 




Upcoming Events 

Love Among the Puritans 

February 10'^, 3 PM 
Mary Ellen Smiley, Salem Museum 

Annual Meeting 

March 10*h 3 PM 


Grape Island, Ipswich 

Grape Island is a long narrow strip of land between Plum Island and 
Great Neck in Ipswich that was settled in the 1670s. Of its many 
inhabitants, the Perkins family was among its best known. Luke and 
Elizabeth Perkins fled from their Ipswich neighbors after Elizabeth was 
taken to court for accusing the local minister of immorality and for 
speaking ill of her parents. When her husband ran afoul of the law 
soon after, the couple moved to a farm on the island. 

^Over the years, other families made their homes on the island, 
enjoying its fertile soil, abundant game and excellent fishing. By the 
1840’s there were enough children for a school to be built. 

In the 1880’s the Mackinney family operated a small hotel and another 
hotel opened in the 1890’s .The steamer Carlotta and others brought 
pleasure seekers from Newburyport, Haverhill and Amesbury. In the 
early part of the 20'^ century a dance hall was added that attracted 
couples from the nearby area. 

Lew Kilborn lived there his entire life, and was the last resident of the 
island prior to his passing in 1984, leaving the island under the control 

of the Parker Wildlife Refuge Plum Island the Way it Was. Nancy V Weare 


A Confederate Soldier in Union Territory 


Kids’ Corner AA 

by Sarah Barrett 

Visiting Columnist 

February 14th is on its way so it's time for 
some chocolate, flowers and beautiful 
cards! Valentine’s Day greetings started to 
become popular way back in the middle 
ages when lovers would recite or sing their 
poetic verses to one another. Paper 
valentines appeared in Europe during the 
1500s and grew in popularity over the 
years. By the early 1700s, Valentine’s Day 
“writers,” booklets of romantic verses and 
messages, were being imported from 
Europe to America where they also 
became quite the hit. Valentine’s Day 
greeting cards did not become a true 
tradition until the time of the Civil War 
(1861-1865) when they often depicted 
lovers parting or a tent with flaps that 
opened up to reveal a soldier. In peace 
time, a church with flaps that opened up to 
show a bride and groom would often be 
displayed on the front of a card. So there 
you have it. People have been expressing 
their love through cards for centuries, so 
go out there and keep the tradition alive by 
making Valentine’s Day greeting cards for 
the people you care about! 


In addition to the Civil War monument “A Wounded Color Sergeant” crafted by sculptress 
Theo A Ruggles Kitson, which is located in front of the library, there is another less 
prominent but still significant marker located in the Pine Grove Cemetery; the white marble 
Confederate headstone marking the grave of Private William “Buck” Taylor. His is the only 
grave of a non-Union Civil War veteran in Topsfield, and one of the very few Confederate 
graves in New England. Following the war there were few job opportunities in the South so 
Buckner came to Topsfield and found work here as a stone mason. He built many of the 
stone walls that still grace the town. He married a Topsfield girl and spent his remaining days 
living in his adopted town. 



Editor Anne Barrett Contnbutors Norm Isler, Sarah Barrett 






1 




Mr. Thomas Goodhall (Goodale) owned a house 
which stood on the property before the current build- 
ing at the corner of Main & Park Streets, where he 
operated a tavern. Mr. Goodhall was issued approval 
by the Selectmen to operate a "House of Entertainment" for one year in 1717. However, his petition was 
denied the following year, and tax records show his house was gone sometime before 1761. 


5 Main Street , by Amy Coffin 

The construction on Main Street has been going on 
for several months - hard to miss - so you might be 
interested to know a bit about that historic building 
opposite the post office. There have been several 
businesses at that location, the current renovation 
being the latest of many. The Lake family who lived 
in the house for 70 years still has descendants in 
Topsfield, to whom we are grateful for sharing some 
family stories and photos. 




Otto Lake (b. 1852) and his wife "Flossie" (Flora E. Adams) were the 
next owners from 1890 til 1959. They raised their family there in an 
apartment on the second floor and opened a variety store on the first 
floor, selling everything from cigars to bicycles. Otto was a shoemaker 
by trade, but also loved to tinker. He had many gadgets and gizmos. 

Thankfully for us, one of Otto’s gadgets was a camera, because he fre- 
quently photographed his family and places they visited. Otto's photo- 
graphs were given to the 
Topsfield Historical Society 

and we are fortunate to have copies of his extensive collection 
including many scenes and buildings from the late 1800's. Otto 
died in 1929, but the house stayed in the Lake family until 
Flossie passed away in 1956 at age 101! 


Interestingly, the basement of the Lake’s house had a billiard 
table and bowling lane when they lived there, and their son Har- 
ry used to set up the pins. In 1899, the Town switchboard was 
installed on the first floor where Flossie was one of the opera- 
tors, another of whom was named appropriately, "Belle Dingle", 
short for Isabelle! In 1953 automation moved in and the sys- 
tem relocated to Central Street and ran by machine. 


The current house was built in 1809 by Thos. Meady, who ran a store 
Capt. William Monday in 1825, who also ran it as a tavern for many 
years, when it was known as The Topsfield House. 


and tavern. Then it was sold to 


Otto & Flossie's daughter, Alice Lake, who was born in 1875 in 
Topsfield, served as an Army Nurse in France 1917-1919. She never married, and later lived in a cottage 
on Hood’s Pond. Her brother Harry, born in 1880, became a barber, like his mother who had also been a 
hairdresser. Harry’s wife was Laura. Their son, Harry Jr. used to wave to the train conductor from the 2"'^ 
floor window, as the Railroad station was on Park Street at the time. 


The Lakes sold the building in 1959 to the C&C Elliott Oil Company, who renovated it to have offices on 
the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. Most recently it has housed a real estate office and 
soon will be the Institution for Savings Topsfield Branch. 

Sources 

Week. Ellen great-grandaughter of Otto Lake provided content and family photographs 09 Jan . 2013 

Bond. C Lawrence Houses & Buildings of Topsfield. Ma Topsfield Histoncal Society, 1989 pp133-134 

Dow, George Francis History of Topsfield 1st ed Topsfield, Wa Topsfield Histoncal Soaety Perkins Press, 1940 


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Local Lore 


March, 2013 
Issue 96 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address (http://www tODsfieldhistorv org ^ Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



USS Constitution 



In 1794 President George 
Washington signed “an act to 
provide a naval armament” which 
authorized the construction of six 
frigates. The immediate issue was 
the need to protect the American 
merchant fleet from increasing 
attacks by the North African 
“Barbary Pirate” states of Morocco, 
Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, as well 
.as from the aggressive high seas 
acts of the British. Designed by 
Philadelphia Quaker and 
innovative naval architect Joshua 
Humphreys, the ships were built in 
six different cities. The contract for 
the ship to be named USS 
Constitution was awarded to 
Edmund Hart’s shipyard in Boston. 
Made from specialty woods from 
Maine to Georgia, armed with 
cannons from Rhode Island, and 
fitted with copper fastenings 
provided by Paul Revere, the ship 
was launched on October 21, 

1797. Today the Constitution is the 
oldest commissioned warship 
afloat in the world. 




By July, 1798 she was cruising 
the West Indies, protecting 
American shipping during the 
undeclared war with France, 
capturing several privateers and 
freeing victims of privateers, 
resident Thomas Jefferson sent 
er to the Mediterranean to 
attempt to force the Barbary 
Pirates to stop their aggression 


against US shipping. With 
Commodore Edward Preble in 
command she and other ships 
conducted five attacks against 
Tripoli resulting in a peace treaty 
signed in the captain’s cabin in 
1805, followed by a similar treaty 
with Tunis. 

Following an overhaul, she 
engaged the HMS Guerriere (see 
picture) 600 miles east of Nova 
Scotia on August 19, 1812. After an 
hour of maneuvering and firing the 
two settled down to a short range 
slugfest. In 20 minutes the Briton’s 
mizzenmast fell and a short time 
later both her remaining masts 
went overboard. During the battle, 
someone saw a shot bounce off 
Constitution’s side and shouted 
that her sides were made of iron! 
And so was born the nickname 
“Old Ironsides.” The Americans 
had 14 casualties, the British 79. 
HMS Guerriere was so badly 
damaged she had to be sunk after 
the surviving crew were brought 
aboard. In recognition of this 
spectacular victory Congress 
awarded Captain Issac Hull a 
special gold medal, his officers 
silver medals and the crew 
$50,000. 

In December of 1812 the ship 
was 30 miles off the coast of Brazil 
when she began a fight with the 
faster HMS Java. Commodore 
William Bainbridge was wounded 
twice and the ship’s steering wheel 
shot away. For more than 3 hours 
he maneuvered masterfully and 
fought tenaciously until HMS Java 
had no masts left and her captain 
lay dying. This time there were 34 
American casualties and about 130 
British. HMS Java was too badly 


Upcoming Events 

Annual Meeting (members only) 
March 10, 3 PM 


Kids’ 

Corner 


From the 17th 
century onward, dairy farmers who 
wanted to supplement their income 
from milk — or who just needed a 
source of sweetener that was better 
and cheaper than sugar or molasses 
— drilled small holes in maple trees 
during the brief weather window 
between winter and spring. (Sap 
typically runs out of trees on days 
when the temperature is around 40 
degrees following a night when the 
mercury dropped below freezing.) 
The farmers called the maple tree 
stands "sugar bushes" and hung 
buckets under the drilled holes. 
Every day or two — depending on 
how fast the sap was running out of 
the trees — the farmers would 
empty out the buckets into larger 
containers or tanks and haul the 
watery substance to a "sugar house" 
usually built in the woods. It takes 
about 40 gallons of sap to make one 
gallon of maple syrup because sap 
is about 98% water. www.time.com 



damaged to bring home; but before 
Bainbridge sunk her he removed 
her wheel to replace the one shot 
away on the Constitution. 

In April, 1814 she was chased into 
Marblehead Harbor by two British 
frigates. She sought refuge under 
the protective cannon guarding the 
harbor and the frigates did not dare 

follow. Source: US Navy. For further history 
visit vwvw.ussconstitutionmuseum.org. 











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Local Lore ^9^ ^ 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address ( httD://www.topsfieldhistorv orq ) Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



Crocker Snow 

Crocker Snow was a pilot and 
aviation official whose aerial 
adventures spanned through 
seven decades from the biplane 
era to the jet age. He was born in 
1905 14 months after Orville and 
Wilbur Wright’s successful flight 
and, as a child of nine, was 
enthralled by the skill and daring of 
World War I fighter pilots. He 
attended Harvard for a year and 
decided to pursue a career in 
aviation after being exposed to 
that school’s flying club. One of his 
heroes was Bostonian Norman 
Prince who founded the Lafayette 
Escadrille and who encouraged 
Americans to fly with the French. 
Snow soloed in 1926 and obtained 
his pilot’s license from Orville 
Wright in 1930. 

By the end of his career he had 
flown 140 different makes and 
models of planes, accumulating 
some 15,000 hours as a pilot, from 
barnstorming World War I Jennies 
to the B-29 that crushed Japan. He 
was involved in the mostly 
peaceful days of aviation between 
the two World Wars and was very 
active in many World War II 
military activities that were highly 
classified at the time. 

In 1939 he was appointed 
Massachusetts Director of 
Aeronautics and served under 1 1 
governors, except for his WWIl 
service time, until he retired in 
1976. As a Harvard student he 
flew Amelia Earhart at a maximum 
altitude of 200 feet over Boston so 
she could shower leaflets from his 
plane advertising her employer. 
Continued on back 



Did you know that in the 1860 
election of Abraham Lincoln 
Topsfield residents voted in the old 
Methodist Church first floor which is 
now known as “The Commons” 
located on North Main Street. 

Voting there took place until the 
1980s when the location was 
changed to the St Rose of Lima 
Church hall. Unfortunately the 
records do not disclose the voting 
results; however since previous 
events show an active abolitionist 
movement in town it is likely that 
Lincoln won a majority. 



Upcoming Events 

Newburyport and the Civil War 

William Hallett 
April 12*^ 7:30 PM 

Bell & Watson 

Jim McAllister 
May 10‘^ 7:30 PM 


Kids’ Corner 

By Hannah Barrett 

Early humans 
developed a 
partnership with 
the canine 
species; dogs 
helped with herding 
and hunting and served as an alarm 
system. In return, dogs got 
companionship, protection and shelter, 
and a reliable food source out of the 
deal. When this partnership first 
occurred is under some controversy. 

It seems clear that dog domestication 
was a long process, which started far 
longer ago than was initially believed. 
Based on evidence in Belgium, France, 
and the Czech Republic, the dog 
domestication process probably began 
as long as 35,000 years ago. Evidence 
of a working relationship is seen at a 
burial site in Germany called Bonn- 
Oberkassel which contained joint human 
and dog interments dated to 14,000 
years ago. Danger Cave in Utah is 
currently the earliest case of dog burial 
in the Americas, at about 1 1 ,000 years 
ago. 

An analysis of dog burials suggests 
that in some cases, dogs were awarded 
"person-hood" and treated equal to 
fellow humans, interred in a similar 
manner to the humans within that 
cemetery. About.com 

Editor Contributors 

Anne Barrett Norm Isler, Hannah Barrett 





( 


( 


Crocker Snow (continued) 


Denison House, a haven for the indigent. Less 
than a year later she was the first woman to cross 
the Atlantic by air and in1932 she became the first 
woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. Later 
she became the most famous female pilot in the 
world. 

In 1939 the President and the War Department 
instituted the Defense Landing Act to create 
coastal military airports which would be 
strategically useful during the war and valuable 
commercial assets afterwards. Snow formed a 
committee which picked four airport locations 
along the path that would be Route 128. The 
locations were South Weymouth, NonA/ood, 
Bedford and Beverly so we can thank him for our 
own Beverly Airport. 



Crocker Snow’s Plane 

Courtesty of Boston Public Library. Leslie Jones Collection 



One of his wartime assignments was to set up 
a ferry route to England. Presque Isle, Maine was 
chosen as the Western terminus and he oversaw 
air base construction there and at Houlton. Bases 
at Gander, Newfoundland and Prestwick, Scotland 
were already operational and were used for long 
range flights while Goose Bay, Labrador under 
construction as a joint Canadian-US venture plus a 
Southern Greenland base known as BluieWest-1 
along with a base in Iceland would be used for 
short range flights, none of which exceeded 800 
nautical miles, close enough to allow planes to 
return to starting point without running out of fuel if 
the destination airport was below minimum for 
landing. 

Perhaps his most important assignment was the 
organizing of bomb groups to fly the B29. He 
discovered the practice of high altitude formation 
flying defined in the existing flight manuals was 
dangerous with this aircraft because of lessoned 
visibility compared to B-17s. He brought this to the 
attention of General Curtis LeMay who at first 
rejected it until several major crashes occurred that 
were traced to this cause. The general then 
changed his mind and took credit for the 
improvement. 



Applications are now being accepted for 
the Kimball Scholarship through April 
15^^. Applications and details may be 
found on the Society website. 



An Earlv Toosfield Baseball Team 


Snow moved to Ipswich at 126 Topsfield Road 
where he had his own 1620 foot runway referred to 
by the FAA as “Ipswich International Airport”. He 
died in 1999 at age 94. There is much more about 
this outstanding aviation pioneer than can be 
covered in this article. I would encourage anyone 
interested to obtain a copy of his Book: “Log Book; 

♦ A Pilots Life” published in 1997 by Roger Warner 
for a most interesting story. Norm Isler 


Baseball season is upon us... 

In her later years, my grandmother remem- 
bered that in her youth (c. 1910) a baseball 
game was a town-wide event, often followed 
by a dance or social. It was a chance to 
wear her new dress, and perhaps admire a 
certain player’s prowess on the field. 

Editor 


I 



( 




Local Lore 


May, 2013 
Issue 98 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address (http //www.tODsfieldhistorv.orq) Email; webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



Two Local Heroes 




Clarence Walker Lake, born March 
4, 1888 was inducted into service 
in 1917 at a large army base 
called Camp Stanton, located by 
Stevens Pond in Boxford. He went 
to France and was assigned to an 
infantry unit and became a 
corporal. He was awarded the 
Distinguished Service Cross for 
capturing 14 enemy soldiers and 2 
machine guns. He was exposed to 
combat gas but did not go to a 
hospital. He was discharged at 
Fort Devens on May 21, 1919 and 
returned home to Topsfield where 
^e is buried in the Boston Street 
metery. The Distinguished 
Service Cross is this country’s 
second highest award for valor, 
only outranked by the Medal of 
Honor, which was awarded to 
another Topsfield resident. 

There is a bit of a mystery 
concerning a Civil War recipient of 
this, the highest award given to 
recognize those soldiers and 
sailors who went above and 
beyond the call of duty. 

From the time of its creation 
during the Civil War the medal has 
represented heroism, and those 
upon whom it was bestowed 
instantly became heroes. 

George Province was one of 
them. He was born in New York in 
1842 and, at age 22, he joined the 
^,nion Army on a 3 year enlistment 
the 13th Battery of Light 
Artillery, Mass. Volunteers under 
the quota of Topsfield, (cont’d) 



Distinguished Service Cross Medal of Honor 


America’s First Millionaire 

Elias Hasket Derby, born and 
raised in Salem, was the United 
States’ first millionaire. His father 
was Richard Derby who had a fleet 
of at least 13 vessels engaged in 
coastal West Indian and Southern 
Atlantic trade. Elias began his 
career working in his father’s 
counting house and was in charge 
of bookkeeping from 1760 until the 
start of the Revolution. He 
commissioned a ship named the 
Grand Turk in 1780 as a 300 ton 
Privateer capable of carrying 28 
cannons which captured 16 British 
ships in two years including one 
named the “Pompey” whose value 
was equal to that of the Grand 
Turk. From accounts of this contd 



Editor Contributors 

Norm Isler, Hannah Barrett 


Upcoming Events 

Bell & Watson 

Jim McAllister 
May 10^ 7:30 PM 

Strawberry Festival 

June 8’^ 10-4 


Kids’ Corner 

By Hannah Barrett 

On my trip to 
London last year I 
went to a small, 
quaint teahouse 
where I was served scones, clotted 
cream, preserves, little cucumber 
sandwiches, small pastries, and of 
course, tea. This made me wonder, how 
did the tradition of tea drinking in England 
come about anyway? In 1662 King 
Charles of England married The 
Portuguese princess, Catherine De 
Braganza. Portugal then granted per- 
mission for the British to use all the ports 
in the Portuguese colonies in Africa, Asia 
and the Americas, giving England their 
first direct trading rights to tea. Queen 
Catherine was said to be credited with 
making tea a fashionable drink amongst 
courtiers. By 1700, tea was on sale in 
more than 500 coffee houses in London. 
According to legend, one of Queen 
Victoria’s ladies in waiting, Anna Maria 
Stanhope, known as the duchess of 
Bedford, is credited as the creator of 
afternoon tea. She would always get 
hungry between lunch and dinner, so she 
would have servants sneak her a pot of 
tea and some snacks. After a while she 
invited friends to join her for her 
afternoon tea. The practice of inviting 
friends for afternoon tea became very 
popular and was quickly picked up by 
other social hostesses. There are three 
basic types of afternoon tea: Cream tea, 
which is tea, scones, jam and cream: 
Light tea, which is tea, scones and 
sweets: and finally Full tea, which is tea, 
savories, scones, sweets and dessert. 
You can even still visit teahouses here in 
America today! It’s delicious. 



Anne Barrett 








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Two Local Heroes (cont’d) 

transferring to the Navy on May 17, 1864, and 
becoming an ordinary seaman aboard the USS 
teantiago de Cuba. On January 15, 1865 his ship 
was one of 59 engaged in the extremely heavy 
bombardment of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. This 
fort was located at Wilmington, the last remaining 
major port open to the Confederates. Under the 
command of General Alfred H. Terry a joint 
expedition was launched in concert with the Navy 
to capture the fort. Some 8,000 army troops were 
employed to attack from the rear while Navy 
infantry and Marines hit the front. This was the 
largest Union and combined expedition of the 
entire war. The next two days the fleet poured in 
an estimated 1.6 million pounds of explosive on 
the Southern garrison. Resistance was fierce and 
all three Union Brigadiers were either killed or 
wounded. Province was detailed to one of the 
Generals on shore. He entered the fort from the 
fleet as one of six men and carried dispatches at 
the height of the battle. Two days later at 10PM the 
remaining confederates surrendered. Confederate 
Vice President Alexander H. Stevens regarded its 
k'all as “one of the greatest disasters that has 
befallen our cause from the beginning of the war.” 
For his role in this decisive battle Province was 
awarded the Medal of Honor on June 22, 1865. 

The mystery is his connection to Topsfield. 
George Francis Dow’s book “History of Topsfield” 
credits him as part of Topsfield’s quota of men 
living in town at the time of enlistment. This credit 
is verified by the Massachusetts Adjutant 
General’s report which is the official record of 
those serving in the military at that time. Just what 
his connection to Topsfield was remains a mystery 
as does his place of burial. In any event Topsfield 
can officially claim him as the only serviceman 
from this town to receive the prestigious Medal of 
Honor. Norm Isler 

References: George Francis Dow’s History of Topsfield, Civil 
War Almanac, Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients, MA 
Adjutant General’s Civil War Report 


Millionaire (cont’d) 

period he was heavily 
involved in outfitting more 
than half of the 158 Salem 
ships engaged in privateer- 
ing. After the Revolution in 1786 his captain took 
the Turk (pictured above) to Canton, China, then on to 
Whampoa, that country’s trading center, to unload 
its cargo and take on Chinese goods. When the 
ship returned to Salem in May, 1782 it unloaded 
500 chests of tea, 75 boxes of china and an 
assortment of cloth to a throng of Salem’s residents 
who greeted the ship as the first from New England 
and Salem to visit China. The cargo was auctioned 
off with John Hancock, then Governor of 
Massachusetts and former president of the 
Continental Congress as well as the first signer of 
the Declaration of Independence in attendance. 
Derby doubled his investment and later sent many 
more ships to China, India and other East Indian 
locations. His success in these ventures helped 
raise Salem up to one of the leading ports in 
America and its richest city on a per capita basis at 

that time. When America First Met China by Eric Jay Dolin, Wikipedia 



Baseball was a popular pastime in prisons and training 
camps during the Civil War. Training camp officers 
encouraged games for their physical fitness benefits, 
and because the sport fostered camaraderie that was 
beneficial on the battlefield. One soldier wrote, though, 
of a game being called off due to a Confederate attack; 
not only was the centerfield player captured, but the 
team’s only baseball disappeared in the fray. 



REMEMBER TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP IF YOU HAVEN’T 
YET. MEMBERSHIPS EXPIRED MARCH 31, 2013 


( 


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( 



Local Lore 


June, 2013 
Issue 99 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address (httD://www.topsfieldhistorv ora) Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



Behavior at Dinner (1848) 

There is no situation in which 
one’s breeding is more observed, 
than at the dinner-table; our work 
would therefore be incomplete 
without the proper directions as to 
its etiquette. 

If there are ladies, gentlemen 
offer their arms, and conduct them 
to the dining-room, according to 
their age or the degree of respect 
to be shown them. 

The lady of the house sits at the 
head of the table, and the 
gentleman opposite at the foot. 
The place of honor for gentlemen 

I s on each side of the mistress of 
house - for ladies on each side 
of the master. 

If soup is served, take a piece of 
bread in the left hand, and the 
spoon in the right, and sip 
noiselessly from the side of the 
spoon. When regular courses are 
served, the next dish is fish. If 
silver or wide pronged forks are 
used, eat with the fork in the right 
hand - the knife is unnecessary. 
Next come the roast and boiled 
meats. If possible the knife should 
never be put in the mouth, and if at 
all, let the edge be turned outward. 




Any thing taken into the mouth not 
fit to be swallowed should be 
quietly removed with the fingers of 
the left hand, to that side of the 
plate. The teeth should be picked 
as little as possible, and never with 
fork or fingers. 

When the ladies leave the table, 
which they do together at the 
signal of the mistress of the house, 
the gentlemen rise, and conduct 
them to the door of the apartment, 
and then return to the table. 

At some tables, large colored 
glasses, partly filled with water, 
with a bit of lemon, are brought 
when the cloth is removed. You 
dip a corner of your napkin in the 
water, and wipe your mouth, then 
rinse hour fingers and wipe them 
on your napkin. 

The best rule for persons un- 
acquainted with the usages of 
society, is to be cautious, and do 
as he sees others do. 


Essex County was designated the first National Heritage Area in 1996 by the 
National Park Service because of its historic Early American locations: 

10,000 National Registered Sites 9 State Parks 

26 National Landmarks- including the Capen House 86 Museums/Hist. Sites 
2 National Historic Sites- Can you name them* 

2 National Wildlife Refuges- Parker River and Thatcher Island 
1^90 farms - Appleton Farms in Ipswich being the oldest in continuous operation 
p/le population in 2000 of 743,159 people lived in its 828 square miles of which 
60.4% is land and 39.6 % water. It also contains 12 colleges and universities, 7 
private schools and 5 technical schools, all of which make it a great place to live. 
(* Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works) 


Upcoming Events 

strawberry Festival 

June 8*^ 10-4 

Doll Tea for Children 

August 28*, 2-4 PM 


Kids’ Corner 

By Sarah Barrett 

Yesterday I 
visited the 
dentist and as I 
sat there with the 
kindly hygienist’s 
hands in my mouth, 
how the practice of dentistry got started. 
People all over the world have had 
toothaches and cavities since the 
beginning of time. The earliest 
explanation for the causes and cure for 
toothaches was inscribed on a tablet 
from Nineveh which was an ancient city 
located in the Mesopotamia region of 
modern-day Iraq. These ancient peoples 
believed that toothworms would inhabit 
the mouth and cause tooth decay. This 
belief was also a common belief in 
ancient China. 

To prevent tooth decay, the ancient 
people used a stick called a “suwak” as a 
toothbrush. The “suwak” was created 
from a stick about the size of a pencil. 
The owner of the ancient toothbrush 
would chew on the end of the stick until 
the woody fibers would separate creating 
the bristles of the “suwak”. 

Around 15 A.D. a well-known Roman 
physician named Archigenes stated that 
some of the causes of toothache were 
actually from inside the tooth. He made 
the first special drill to get inside of the 
tooth. He believed that the cure for 
toothache was to put a mixture of roasted 
earthworms, spikenard (a medicinal 
plant), and crushed spider eggs into the 
hole in the tooth created by the drill. So, 
next time you go to the dentist, be 
grateful that you were born in the time of 
mint and bubblegum-flavored fluoride 
and free, shiny toothbrushes! 



I wondered about 


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TOPSFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
LONG RANGE PLAN - GOALS 


r 

Below are the Historical Society’s long range plans and goals. Priorities for 2013 are in red. longer-term priorities are in 

black. We need volunteers to accomplish these goals, so please seriously consider getting involved; email your interest in 

a particular area to webmaster@topsfieldhistorv.orq to volunteer. THANK YOU! 

1 . Create a vision statement for the entire Parson Capen House and devise a plan to bring the house up to the vision: 

A. Define a plan for the use of the PCH second floor (former kitchen and bath areas). 

B. Verify the PastPerfect artifact inventory in the PCH Identify ’’best museum practices” to protect our artifact collection. 
Optimize the artifact collection, getting rid of irrelevant items and adding items to help define the period(s) being 
represented. Study and recommend improvements to the first period display using both original and reproduction 
items. Use the probate list of Parson Joseph Capen and the Goulds as guides. Use PastPerfect to catalog all 
artifacts (include digital images). 

C. Celebrate 100 years of the THS ownership of the Parson Capen House in 2013. Use this event to promote: 
membership, attendance at THS events, visitations to the PCH and rentals for the Gould Barn (income). 


2. Promote community-wide awareness of the Society, its mission, and its value to the community with the goal of 
increasing participation in Society membership and events. This will be accomplished through publicity, placing articles in 
the local paper, conducting periodic outreach campaigns and membership drives and developing marketing materials that 
support these efforts. 

3. Assess the adequacy of the Society’s historical records organization and conservation procedures, and define what 
improvements might be made. 

A. Initially concentrate on verifying the Society’s archival content and bringing records up to date. Over time, expand the 
PastPerfect computerized database to include historical images and Topsfield data from Town Hall, the Town Library, 
Peabody Essex’s Phillips Library and other repositories. 

B. Make selected historical records available to the public, over the Internet and in person. 

C. Catalog the THS audio and video archives. Where warranted, digitize media to preserve and protect important 
information. Where warranted, post THS videos on the Topsfield YouTube Channel for “video-on-demand” over the 
Internet. 

D. Create and maintain a Topsfield current events file for future publication as a continuation of the Historical Collection 
series. 

4. Document and promote Topsfield history: 

A. Gather one of each of G. F. Dow’s publications in to a single, cataloged collection in the Town Library and the 
Records Room, for research purposes. Gather information to update Dow’s 1940 book. History of Topsfield . 

B. Re-establish audio/video oral history interviews. 

C. Add creative sources of information to the THS website. 

D. Continue to erect Historical Markers. 

5. Create a way to facilitate bequests to the Society for special purposes and communicate the purposes and means to 
potential donors from the membership as well as from the community at large. 

6. Determine what action is required for the historical single room schoolhouse. 


1 





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The Topsfield Historic, oociety Newsletter 




the Topsfield Historical Society acqi^/W and restored the^arson Joseph Capen House, thanks to the efforts 
of Society founder George Francis Dow. To celebrate this milestone 1 invite you to view the exhibit 
100 Years of Preserving the Parson Capen House, which will be on display in the town library during October. 




Dow envisioned preserving the house as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in the country. He 
raised the funds necessary to rejuvenate the structure and was assisted by his friend Thomas E. Procter, a long time 
Topsfield benefactor who gave the town the land upon which the Proctor School now stands. 

During the 1 960s the property was added to the National Register as a Historic 
Landmark and it is now featured in many architectural and historical texts and is 
often visited by architecture students. 

Throughout the years of Society ownership much effort has gone into the houses 
preservation. Like all wooden structures it requires much tender loving care to 
keep it in good condition. In 2001 a Historic Structure Survey was conduct- 
ed by consultants Finch & Rose to document the early physical develop- 
ment of the house and its 1913 restoration. This report formed the 
basis for a subsequent restoration work plan that continues to 
be implemented. 

As we celebrate 1 00 years of stewardship we remain 
committed to preserving this outstanding example 
of the earliest homes of this country’s settle- 
ment, and look forward to passing this 
unique historic landmark down to the 
next generations for their continued 
care and enjoyment. 

Norm Isler 
President, 

Topsfield Historical Society 


\ 


f 



Topsfield Historical Society 


From the Editor 


As I blithely typed up the first monthly newsletter in the 
spring of 2003, I had no thought that a decade later I’d be 
publishing the 100th issue of Local Lore. Time slipped by, 
articles were written, events announced, my younger daugh- 
ter Hannah, a preschooler when I began, assumed author- 
ship of the Kid’s Corner awhile back. Society President 
Norm Isler kept up a constant flow of material, and suddenly 
it’s been ten years since Local Lore made its debut. 

The following pages feature articles that have appeared in 
past Local Lore newsletters, stories that reflect Topsfield’s 
history over four centuries. In working to compile this sam- 
pling, I’ve been reminded anew how much the Society has 
done for the community over the years. From that first proj- 
ect to restore the Capen House back in 1913, to the installa- 
tion of the Topsfield Academy bell in the newly built Proctor 
School, to rescuing and rebuilding the 1710 Gould Barn that 
has become a cherished community resource, generations 
of Society members have worked tirelessly to preserve and 
enhance our town’s historic legacy for the enjoyment of each 
and every one of its citizens. 

Our Society is unique among its peers for the numerous and 
varied benefits it brings to the community, from preserving 
historic buildings, artifacts and documents, to sponsoring 
events such as the Strawberry Festival and Thanksgiving 
Open House, to organizing education programs like the 
3rd Grade Field Trip and monthly events featuring authors, 
historians and performers. 

I hope that you will enjoy this publication, and when you’re 
through reading it, that you’ll keep it out on the coffee table, 
or tuck it away on your bookshelf for future reference. Who 
knows, perhaps your children or grandchildren will come 
across it someday, and when they read it they’ll be reminded 
of the place where they, their parents or grandparents lived, 
the lovely and historic village of Topsfield! 

Anne Hills Barrett 
Vice President, Topsfield Historical Society 
Editor and Publisher, Local Lore 


A petition was put forward in 1648 to create a town from 
the lands at the New Meadows. Zaccheus Gould, one of the 
petitioners, had lived at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, 
England, and naturally desired to transplant to New England 
soil the familiar name of his former parish. 

Samuel Symonds, one of the assistants sitting among the mag- 
istrates when the petition came up for consideration, owned 
five hundred acres of land at the New Meadows. He had 
come from Toppesfield, a small parish in the county Essex, 
about thirty miles north of London. Undoubtedly it was his 
influence that led to the adoption of the name Toppesfield 
to be given to the New Meadows settlement. Moreover, 

John Winthrop, Jr. in 1643, when selling his three hundred 
acre grant, had described the lands as being in the “Hamlett 
Village or place called Toppesfield.” This was a full five years 
before the magistrates took official action and it therefore 
seems likely that the name Toppesfield had been in use for 
some time. 

Jhe History of Topsfield, George Francis Dow 




How Topsfield Was 
Named 




www.topsfieldhistory.org 




Zaccheus Gould Fined for Associating with Quakers 


- I 


Zaccheus Gould is the earliest recorded settler of Topsfield, 
coming here in 1643 before the town was known as Topsfield. 
He came from Hemel Hempstead, England to the Massachu- 
setts Bay Colony about 1638 and at first lived in Weymouth 
and then moved to Lynn in the spring of 1640. He leased 
a farm of about 300 acres and, in the following December, 
leased another in Lynn known as “The Ponds.” The size and 
value of these farms indicates that he was a farmer of some 
ability and possessed capital. While living in Lynn he visited 
with two Quakers and was fined 3 pounds for associating 
with them. This was a rather large fine at that time for such 
an offense. After that incident he moved to New Meadows, 
as Topsfield was then known and was active in creating the 
town, becoming one of its leading citizens. Whether he 
moved from Lynn because of the incident is not known. 


j @ ^ ^ 


The Mills of Topsfi 



Farming was the chief occupation of the early settlers and the rich lands near the Ipswich River tempted people from Ipswich 
to push westward into the “New Meadows.” Tracts of land were gradually sold to men who built their houses on them and 
cultivated the land. 

Corn was one of the principal crops and its grinding became an important industry. 

At first the people of Topsfield had to carry their grain to a grist mill in Ipswich but 
the road was poor and they soon felt a need for their own mill. Francis Peabody was 
given the right in 1664 by Topsfield to set up a grist mill on Pye Brook which flows 
into the Ipswich River. This mill remained in the Peabody family for 1 56 years until 
1820 and, after it was sold, it remained in operation until 1892. The mill site can still 
be seen in Topsfield just west of the Route 1 and Ipswich Road intersection. Later the 
Howletts built a grist mill on Howlett’s Brook just off Camp Meeting Road. These two 
mills served the town for many years. One of the Howlett millstones now serves as a 
door step at the Society’s Gould Barn. 

Peabody Grist Mill 

About 1834 a factory was built on the Hamilton side of the Ipswich Rver, in an area known as Willowdale, for the purpose of 
manufacturing woolen goods. It was a large stone structure accompanied by a dwelling house for the workers. It was known as 
“Manning’s Mills” from the name of the builder. In 1864 this factory manufactured 55,000 pairs of army and ribbed socks and 
other woolen goods such as blankets that were used by the Union Army in the Civil War. As time went on, a village of cottag- 

r several stores and a school were built in the vicinity of the factory. The factory was destroyed by fire in 1 884 and was never 

“rebuilt. What remains today are the foundation stones of the factory and the sluiceway leading from the dam to the factory, a 
silent tribute to the early pioneers of this area. 

History of Topsfield, George Francis Dow and History of Essex County, D. Hamilton Hurd. 





J 


Topsfield Historical Society 


Displaced Persons in 
Topsfield 


In 1755, thousands of French Acadians who lived in Nova 
Scotia were forcibly removed and carried into exile among 
the English settlements along the Atlantic coast from what is 
now Maine to Georgia with 1 ,000 coming to Massachusetts. 
Of alien birth, religion and speech, nowhere did they find a 
welcome. A committee was appointed by the General Court 
to attend to their distribution among several Massachusetts 
towns. Ipswich had 20, Rowley 14, Boxford 9 and Topsfield 
had 7; Michael and Elizabeth Dugoy and their five children. 

The Topsfield selectmen engaged John Gould to provide a 
house for them and he rented the William Towne House, 
then over 100 years old. In 1755 it stood in the field by South 
Main Street and Salem Road. Jacob Robinson was chosen to 
take care of them. Michael’s state of health was poor and he 
was not able to work. After living in Topsfield for nearly four 


years Dugoy and his family were allowed to move to Newbury 
where two families of Acadians were already located. The ^ 
transfer was made in 1760 and Topsfield regularly contrib- 
uted to their support every quarter until April 1767. In that 
year the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a law empowering 
towns to remove any persons, not native, who were deemed 
undesirable as residents. 

The three families in Newbury, thirty persons in all, peti- 
tioned the town to be allowed to return to Canada. The pe- 
tition was granted and the exiles were furnished with money 
and supplies. Topsfield, at a town meeting held on April 24, 
1767 voted to give the French family thirty two dollars to pay 
their passage to Canada and support them on their voyage. 
And so the Frenchman and his family sailed away, not to his 
old home which was now occupied by others but to a new 
location west of his former settlement. So ended this sad 
chapter of Colonial America and Canadian history. 

— Houses & Buildings of Topsfield, C. Lawrence Bond 
History of Topsfield, George Francis Dow 



Gov. General Thomas Gage’s Local Connections 


December 16th, 1773 was the day of the Boston Tea Party and on January 20th Topsfield residents voted not to buy or sell any 
tea that “has or may be ex-ported from Great Britain” approving every legal method the town of Boston and others had taken to 
prevent said company’s tea from being landed. Any merchants continuing to import tea from Great Britain were to be considered 
“enemies to all the American Colonies.” This was very strong wording. Massachusetts was punished for this transgression in the 
spring by King George III who had Parliament pass a series of acts (called the Coercive Acts) which, among other things, closed 
the port of Boston to all trade except military stores, food and fuel. The closing was to continue until restitution was made to the 
British East India Company for the lost tea. These acts greatly increased the feeling of distrust by the Colonists. 


Against this background Military Governor General Gage arrived on May 17, 1774 to enforce the acts. He replaced Civilian 

Governor Thomas Hutchinson as head of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had been Com- 
mander in Chief of British Forces in North America during the French and Indian War. He 
was married to an American, was apparently well liked and reportedly considered the Boston 
port Bill to be illegal. He was escorted into Salem where a ball was held at the home of Col. 
William Browne (located in Derby Square near where the old town hall now stands) in honor 
of King George’s birthday. 



() 


In June Gage moved the capital from radical Boston to more conservative Salem. During the 
summer he and his family lived at the “Lindens” and used this home of Robert “King” Hooper 





■i'" A 


www.topsfieldhistory.org 


as his headquarters, now a part of the Century House Restau- 
nt on Route 1 14 in Peabody. In July two companies of the 
4th Staffordshire Regiment took up camp opposite the Linden 
mansion to guard the governor. During his time in Salem Gage 
is reported to have enjoyed sailing on Wenham Lake. 

- Topsfield town records and the Salem Library archives 


African Princess in 
Topsfield 


Dodge Conant, in Topsfield, who brought her up and gave 
her an excellent education. She proved trustworthy and grate- 
ful and developed into a fine woman. When she became of 
age she went into domestic service and was for many years 
cook in the home of Mrs. Gordon Dexter of Boston and Bev- 
erly Farms. While she was living there she was taken ill and 
Mrs. Kilham of Beverly, the niece of Captain Kilham, had her 
brought to her home and cared for until she recovered. It was 
for a time the care of Miss Henrietta Kilham, then a child, to 
read aloud to her every afternoon, and she remembers being 
told that in spite of all the intervening years she (Sarah) was 
never able to forget the lash. 


Buried in the family lot of Albert Austin Conant, in Pine 
Grove Cemetery, lies the body of an African princess. It was 
a strange mis-adventure that brought this girl from far away 
Africa to Topsfield, where she lived for a number of years in 
the home of Major Nathaniel Conant at the corner of Main 
and Haverhill streets. It happened that Mrs. Conant’s broth- 
er, Captain Austin Dodge, of Beverly was owner of the barque 
Magdala, and made voyages to Africa. In 1844, while on one 
of these voyages, he was traveling inland near Sierra Leone, 
%i|)nd came across a tribal war being fought there. In order to 
escape its cruelties many of the women and children were 
fleeing toward the coast, when some, from fatigue, dropped 
behind and became separated from the others. 


Don de Mer died on the 
passage and the girl, who 
Ai^ve her name as Sarah Baro 
'v^olcher, was given to Captain 
Dodge. He brought her home 
to his sister, Mrs. Elisabeth 



A slave dealer, Don de Mer, just then came driving his slaves 
under the lash and, with a short raw hide whip, forced some 
of these stragglers to come along with his slaves. He was a 
passenger on board Captain Dodge’s return trip and brought 
on board with him three of the last acquired captives. The 
sailors made clothes for them, 
as they were naked, but one 
of these, a child about eight 
years of age, had a string of 
beads around her waist which 
was thought to mark her as an 
African princess. 


The Society is fortunate to have in its collection a small ma- 
hogany box that once belonged to Sarah. 



Never exhort young ladies, during a quadrille, to "fake away" or "flare 
up," for they, being unacquainted with the meaning of such a term, will 
naturally conclude that it is an improper one. 

Call all articles of dress by their proper names. What delight can be 
found by a thinking mind in designating a hat as a tile, trousers as 
kickseys, a neckerchief a fogle, or a great coat an upper Benjamin. 

Do not eat gravy with a 
knife, for fear those about 
you should suppose you 
to be going to commit 
suicide. 

For Ladies: 

A lady's under clothes are 
not intended to be seen, 
but as we imagine them 
to always be faultlessly 
clean, and as an accident at any time may reveal their true condition, 
they should always be so. A man who would marry a woman, who 
wore a dirty stocking, or one with a hole in it, would be very likely to 
beat her in a month, and run away from her before a year was over. 

Ladies are not allowed upon ordinary occasions to take the arm of any 
one but a relative or an accepted suitor in the street, and in the day 
time. Of course, the conversation of a stranger, beyond asking a nec- 
essary question, must be considered as a gross insult, and repelled 
with proper spirit. 




Topsfield Historical Society 


Kids Corner 


MuSH! 


Imagine driving a dog sled team over 1,000 miles through blinding snowstorms, darkness 
and sub-zero temperatures! This describes the Iditarod race that takes place in Alaska each 
year. The word is said to mean far distant in a local native language of the area. 

The race got its start back in the 1960s to celebrate Alaska’s early history. In the 1800s and 
early 1 900s dog sled teams were the most reliable transportation in Alaska. These teams 
would follow the Iditarod Trail from coastal Alaska to the interior villages and mining camps 
to bring mail, food, and when a diphtheria epidemic broke out, life-saving medicine. They 
would return bringing gold from the mines. 



A Sketchy Past 



When other kids are out playing soccer, would you rather be sketching the wildlife in your back- 
yard? Maybe you’re a budding John James Audubon! Growing up in France in the late 1700s, he 
wandered the countryside sketching the animals he saw, especially birds. ^ 

After moving to America and unsuccessfully trying various employment pursuits, he settled back 
to do what he loved most, drawing. He found a publisher in England who agreed to publish his 
book, and spent the next twelve years sketching every bird found in America, in four volumes. The 
books were very successful; even the kings of England and France bought them. 



After Audubon’s death, the Audubon Society was formed to honor him and educate Amer- 
icans about birds and how to protect them from extinction. Today because of him we can 
enjoy places like the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Take a trip there and bring your 
sketchbook! 


Lacrosse 


Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America, dating back to the l400s. In the 1600s 
Jesuit missionary Jean de Brebeuf saw the Huron Indians playing it and likened the stick 
the Indians used to the “crosier” carried at religious ceremonies by a bishop. Thus, the 
name la crosse evolved, and this later became simply “lacrosse.” 

Indian lacrosse was a mass game and often teams were made up of one hundred to one 
thousand braves on each side. The goals were usually five-hundred yards to one-half mile 
apart. Games lasted from sunrise to sundown stretching over the course of two or three 
days. Lacrosse toughened braves for actual combat. There were even times when games 
were played between two tribes to settle their differences. 




www.topsfieldhistory.org 



UMBER Please! 


People who had phones in their homes in the early 1900s seldom talked on them. 
Servants took messages and called back with a reply. In European households phones 
were hidden under stairways or otherwise covered up. Many people disliked tele- 
phones because voices were sometimes hard to hear or were garbled. By 1940, there 
were about four telephones for every hundred households. 


To make a call, you turned a handle on the phone, which caused a light to come on at the 
local exchange building where the operators were located. The operator then connected 
your call. One early Topsfield operator was appropriately named Belle Dingle. 




England, Hoi Topsfield Telephone Exchange 

Last year my mom and I visited London, England. We went to the British Museum and found a really 
cool exhibit from 1585 called “Automaton in the Form of a Ship.” This machine was in the form of a gal- 
leon and it was intended to announce banquets at court. They would put the automaton on the banquet 
table and the entertainment would begin with music from a miniature organ inside the hull, drumming, 
and a procession. Afterwards the ship would travel down the table. When it stopped, as a grand finale, the 
front cannon would automatically fire, lighting a fuse that would cause the other guns on the miniature 
ship to fire. It was quite a complicated piece of machinery for the time. 


While we were in England we had afternoon tea in a small, quaint teahouse where 
I was served scones, clotted cream, preserves, little cucumber sandwiches, small 
pastries, and of course, tea. This made me wonder, how did the tradition of after- 
noon tea drinking in England come about anyway? According to legend, one of 
Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope, known as the duchess of 
Bedford, is credited as the creator of afternoon tea. She would always get hungry 
between lunch and dinner, so she would have servants sneak her a pot of tea and 
some snacks. After a while she invited friends to join her for her afternoon tea. The 
practice of inviting friends for afternoon tea became very popular and was quickly 
picked up by other social hostesses. 



Ketchup Origins 


The word ketchup is derived from the Chinese ke-tsiap, a pickled fish sauce. It made its way to Malaysia where it became 

kechap and ketjap in Indonesia. Seventeenth century English sailors first discovered the 
delights of this Chinese condiment and brought it west. The Chinese version is more like 
a soy or Worcestershire sauce. It gradually went through various changes, particularly 
with the addition of tomatoes in the 1700s. By the nineteenth century, ketchup was also 
known as tomato soy. Early tomato versions were much thinner in consistency. E & J. 
Heinz Company began selling tomato ketchup in 1876. By the end of the nineteenth 
century, tomato ketchup was the primary type of ketchup in the United States, and the 
descriptor of tomato was gradually dropped. 



mo-mi m-!m im-im ms-mo me-mo 





Topsfield Historical Society 


Topsfield During the 
Civil War 


At a town meeting in 1861 the residents of Topsfield resolved 
to appropriate funds and recruit men for National Guard. In 
April, 1861 the news of the firing on Fort Sumter reached 
town about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, a militia officer 
bringing it over the road from Salem, and three men, James 
Wilson, David Casey and Edward Otis Gould dropped their 
tools and started at once to the rendezvous at Salem. James 
Wilson was the only one of the three who had a uniform and 
proper equipment and was accepted on the first call. 


Topsfield furnished 113 men for the war, which were six more 
than required. Five were commissioned officers. Most of the 
men enlisted gave their occupation as either farmers or shoe- 
makers. The ladies ofTopsfield worked heartily in the cause and 
forwarded money, clothing and hospital supplies to the army. 


A training camp named Camp Stanton in Boxford was estab- 
lished for training locals. In a letter home one soldier described 
it thus, “It is a very pleasant place. It looks like a city of tents, I 
should think there was four hundred or more.” 


Dr. Justin Allen, M.D. 
former President of the 
Topsfield Historical So- 
ciety, bequeathed $8,000 
to the town “To erect a 
monument suitable to 
commemorate the lives 
of the citizens ofTops- 
field who enlisted in the 
U.S. Army in defense of 
the country in the Great 
Rebellion of 1861-1865.” 
A design created by Mrs. 
Theo Ruggles Kitson 
entitled “The Wounded 
Color Sergeant” was 
chosen and the statue was 
dedicated in front of the 
Library on July 25, 1914. 



Topsfield veteran Chester Peabody (above) 
died while serving in the Civil War. 



We have endeavored to impress upon the minds of the teachers 
and pupils the necessity of more attention to reading. Some- 
times teachers do not fully appreciate the importance of this and 
allow their pupils to give one single definition of a word looked 
up in the dictionary. To illustrate: the word "exhale" occurred 
in a reading exercise we observed. When questioned as to the 
meaning of "exhale," the pupil's answer was "to send out." That 
answer did not satisfy us without some qualification, but the 
scholar had been instructed to give only one definition from the 
dictionary. We "send out" missionaries to the heathen, but we 
do not "exhale" them. This shows the absurdity of receiving a 
part of a definition. 


Confederacy Vice ( 

President Visits Topseield 


On May 1 1th, 1865 following the end of the Civil War, 
Confederacy Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens 
was arrested and imprisoned at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor 
for five months. Upon his release in October, 1865 he came 
to Topsfield unannounced as the guest of Andrew Peirce who 
lived at Witch Hill, located along the southern end of the 
Topsfield section of Route 1 . 

The story in back of this little known visit really began in 
1807 when, at the age of 16, Andrew Peirce shipped out on 
one of his father’s ships, his father having formed a ship- 
ping company in Gloucester, later moving it to Dover, New 
Hampshire. Andrew’s trip took him to Texas where he was 
impressed with the possibilities of this untouched frontier. 

In 1856, Andrew moved the shipping business to Boston 
because ships were getting too large for the Piscataqua River. 

In that same year he moved to Witch Hill because from there 
he could get into Boston on one change of horses! It may ' 
have been during this time period that Pierce met Alexander 
Hamilton Stephens. 


www.topsfieldhistory.org 


In the year 1882 Stephens was 
elected Governor of Georgia and 
during his term was taken sick 
and died on March 4, 1883. He 
was remembered as one of the 
great men of his times. 

Confederate Vice President 
Alexander Hamilton Stephens 



Stephens was born in Grawfordsville, Georgia and was or- 
iP aned as a child. He attended Franklin Gollege and became 
active in politics. He was a leader in the moderate factor of 
the Gonfederacy. When war loomed he was elected Confed- 
eracy vice president and later, upon his release from prison, 
Georgians reelected him to the 
US Senate; however the Repub- 
licans refused to recognize the 
new state government and he 
was not allowed his seat. 



took place on Monday evening, near Topsfield. At about six o'clock 
in the afternoon, Mr. Wentworth of the Salem and Topsfield 
express, being about two miles from the latter town, on his return 
from Salem, was attacked by two men, who stopped his horse 
and with a pistol presented at his head by one of them, demanded 
his money. Finding resistance hopeless, he gave up what he had, 
amounting to $260, and was permitted to proceed. A man was 
arrested yesterday on suspicion of being one of the robbers, but his 
guilt is believed to be at least doubtful. 

Salem Gazette - November 10th, 1865 



Prince Visits Topsfield 


Did you know that Edward, Prince of Wales, once had dinner in Topsfield? In 1924 he arrived by train in Lowell from Montreal 
and thence went by motorcar to Savin Hill, the 200 acre Hamilton estate of his host, Bayard Tuckerman, Jr., with whom he had 

spent some time the year before in Leicestershire, England. Tuckerman had extended an invitation 
to join the Myopia hunt the following Fall, which the Prince accepted. The Princes 14 hour stay was 
a nonstop round of horseback riding at Appleton Farms followed by a large tea at the Tuckerman’s, 
also attended by Topsfield residents Bradley Palmer and Thomas Proctor. This in turn was followed 
by a reception and then a 57 person dinner and dancing at the Gravelly Brook home of Mr. and 
Mrs John S. Lawrence in Topsfield (a home that no longer exists). The menu was a collection of 
New England dishes-lobster, oysters, chicken and fruit from the Topsfield orchard. Afterward there 
was dancing in the ballroom to music by the Copley-Plaza orchestra, continuing until 3 AM the 
next day. Isabel, the nine year old daughter of the Lawrences, was allowed to stay up on this occa- 
sion and had the first dance with the Prince. 

Bayard Tuckerman, Jr. (left) and 
the Prince of Wales 



That morning at 5 AM he left by 
motorcar for Lowell to board a special train to New York, where 
he embarked on the S.S. Olympic to England. On his voyage 
home he wrote a thank you note to Mr. Appleton mentioning 
that he was “so glad to have seen your Myopia country” and 
extending an invitation for more hunting in England. In 1 936, 
^v^s ^ becoming King of England, Edward abdi- 

cated the throne to his brother in order to marry the American 
divorcee Wallis Simpson. 








You probably knew that shoes were manufactured in Topsfield until 
the early twentieth century, but did you know that some shoes made 
at that time did not have a left and right? Each shoe could be worn 
on either foot. According to Merrill Bailey, my great grandfather and 
owner of Bailey Shoe Manufacturing, the shoes were sold for 50 cents 
a pair. -Ed. 







Topsfield Historical Society 



Forgotten WWII Incident 

( 


The morning of May l4th, 1943, a four-plane formation was on a training flight from Hanscom Air Base in Bedford as part of 
the 370th Fighter Squadron. They were flying P-47 Thunderbolts, a large heavy state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. At 6,500 feet 
near Topsfied, the Number 3 craft began leaving a smoke trail. The pilot was advised by the flight leader to head for the nearest 
aitfield. He passed through a broken layer of clouds at 5,000 feet followed by the rest of the formation, however upon passing 
through the clouds they were unable to find him. They circled the area for 1 5 minutes searching for their wing mate without 
success, returning to base to see whether he might have returned. He had not. Nearly three hours later a state trooper search- 
ing the Ipswich River spotted the pilot’s partially opened parachute. Apparently the pilot was too low for a successful jump. 
During this time of the war there were a number of observation towers manned by civilian spotters on the lookout for possible 
enemy aircraft, and one of them in Hamilton was able to follow the plane’s descent almost to the point where it struck the 
ground on Asbury Road, narrowly missing the Steward house. Wreckage was strewn over an area more than 1/8 mile long with 
no part much larger than a man’s hand except 
for the engine. Eupilo Marciano ofTopsfield, 
who was manning the observation post in town, 
stated he saw the plane in trouble for some time 
before the crash but did not actually see it hit. 

As a result of this incident, pilots flying this 
heavy aircraft were advised not to hesitate in 
using their parachutes if they were unable to 
maintain altitude. 



Bradley Palmer and 

WiLLOWDALE 

Had it not been for Bradley Palmer’s foresight, effort and 
generosity, his 5 square miles of property would not exist for 
our use and enjoyment today, yet few people know the history 
behind the large and lovely park. 

Born in 1866 in Wilkes-Barre, 
Pennsylvania, Palmer graduated 
from Phillips Exeter, Harvard and 
Harvard Law School. After prac- 
ticing with his father’s law firm in 
Wilkes-Barre, he moved to Boston 
to practice at Storey and Thorndike, 
soon to be called Storey, Thorndike 
Palmer and Dodge. 


He was involved with a number of prominent businesses, in- 
cluding United Eruit and Gillette Company. He worked with 
other corporations as well, becoming a director of at least ten 
companies. During WW I he was appointed U.S. Represen- 
tative and was involved in drafting the Treaty of Versailles and 
a separate treaty with Germany, for which he received deco- 
rations from Erance, Belgium and Rumania. In WW II he 
served the government with his legal expertise. 

Palmer was tall and stocky, with a reputation as being rather 
taciturn and terse in speech. Underneath though, he was a 
gentleman, demonsttating generosity and consideration for his 
employees. He remained a bachelor, but was a frequent and 
gracious host at both his Boston residence and Willowdale. 

After moving to Boston, Palmer became attracted to this area 
and began acquiring parcels of land along the Ipswich Riv- ^ 
er and beyond. One parcel near Asbury Street contained a 
farmhouse where he lived until he built his fieldstone home 
in 1902. His property included stables, outbuildings, green- 




www.topsfieldhistory.org 


houses, animal pens, an ice house, equipment sheds and a 
mphouse with a 10,000 gallon reservoir. This property he 
’Called Willowdale. At the peak of operations it employed 35- 
40 people, and the poultry, eggs and produce from the farm 
were sold and used to feed the employees. 


Palmer had a four-mile steeplechase course constructed 
around his property and the first race meet was held in No- 
vember of 1911. Several races were held that day, of varying 
levels of difficulty, and all racers were required to be amateurs. 
Over the years the races attracted an ever-wider list of partic- 
ipants and spectators. No races were held in 1918 or 1919, 
but resumed thereafter and remained popular for many years. 
The late 1930’s saw a decline in their popularity, and no races 
were held during WW II. Although they resumed in 1946, 
they only lasted until 1950. 

Palmer loved Willowdale and wanted it to be protected forev- 
er. With this in mind, he gifted 2,400 acres to create Wil- 
lowdale State Forest and 190 acres with Hood’s Pond beach 
access were gifted to Topsfield for public use. In 1944 he 
.gave over 750 acres to create what we know as Bradley Palmer 
%h)tate Park, adding an additional 107 acres and his house and 
structures upon his death in 1946. 


Thomas Emerson Proctor 


Thomas E. Proctor was born in Boston on June 27, 1874 
and graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in 1895. 
Following graduation he initially began studying architecture; 
however a few years later he moved to Topsfield where, in 
1898, he purchased a large farm with its historic old house 
built for Samuel Bradstreet in 1771, now owned by the Mas- 
sachusetts Audubon Society overlooking the Ipswich River. 

He hired a number of Italian workers and under the direction 
of a Japanese landscape designer laid out the roads, trails and 
Rockery in what is now the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctu- 
ary. He built spacious greenhouses and gardens off Perkins 
Row and by 1 929 had added several thousand acres of land 
juntil he owned nearly one-third of the town. On his estate 
planted a great collection of trees and shrubs from all over 
the world. At one time he visited Central and South America 
collecting many unusual flowers and plants from the Amazon. 



Baseball dates back to the mid nineteenth century and was a 
popular pastime in prisons and training camps during the Civil 
War. Training camp officers encouraged games for their physical 
fitness benefits, and because the sport fostered camaraderie that 
was beneficial on the battlefield. One soldier wrote, though, of 
a game being called off due to a Confederate attack; not only 
was the centerfield player captured, but the team's only baseball 
disappeared in the fray. -Ed. 




In her later years, my grandmother Ursula remembered that in her 
youth (c. 1910) a baseball game was a town-wide event, often 
followed by a dance or social. It was a chance to wear her new 
dress, and perhaps admire a certain player's prowess on the field. 


Baseball on Topsfield Common 


His collection attracted many visitors and it gave him much 
pleasure. Some of the older residents recall him providing 
flowers for a number of town events. He was a noted botanist 
and devoted himself to raising orchids, becoming adept in 
the art of cross-fertilization. He was an active member of the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society, winning a number of 
medals for exhibits of his flowers and plants. 


In 1913 when our historical society’s founder George Francis 
Dow was trying to raise funds for the purchase and renova- 
tion of the Parson Capen House, Proctor made a generous 
donation, without which the house might never have been 
saved. In the early 1930s he offered to build a new grammar 
school on land he would donate if the town would name 
the school after him but the town turned down the offer, 
choosing to take the land and build the school itself It was 
ultimately named after him however and is now known as the 
Proctor School. He never married and died in Topsfield on 
March 21, 1949. 


Topsfield s Three Steeples 


If you stand on Topsfield Common and look west, you’ll see three steeples lined up in a row; one each on Proctor School, the g 
Town Hall, and the Congregational Church. Each of the steeples has a story to tell. 

In the Proctor School steeple hangs a bell that came from the Topsfield Academy, which was dedicated on May 7th, 1828. The 
Academy was founded by the citizens to furnish youth with an education higher than the rudiments. The building was later 
used as a public school. When the Academy was torn down in 1935 the bell came into the possession of the Historical Society, 
which had it installed at the Proctor School. 

Next is the Town Hall steeple, which has a four-faced tower clock dating from 1879, six years after the town hall was built. 

The clock was purchased from the George M. Stevens Company of Boston at a cost of $325; keep in mind that the entire town 
hall was built for $13,000. Money for the clock was raised by the Topsfield Drama Club, which put on plays, probably in the 
town hall’s second-floor auditorium. This clock tells the 
time but does not strike. 

The third steeple, atop the Congregational Church, has been 
the focus of the town common since 1703. Three meeting 
houses have stood on this location, the present one having 
been built in 1843. It houses a Paul Revere bell, inscribed 
“Revere & Co. Boston 1817.” 



Local Lore 

Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 
P.O. Box 323 


Topsfield, MA 01983 


c 

NON-PROFIT 

ORG. 

US. POSTAGE 

PAID 

PERMIT 89 
TOPSFIELD, MA 





Special Exhibit on display in the Town Library during October 2013 



in i/Ni^ 



Local Lore 


October, 2013 
Issue 101 


The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 

WEB Address (httD://www.toDsfieldhlstorv.orQ l Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 
P.O. Box 323, Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983 



Three Centuries of 
Topsfield History 

Excerpted from THS Historical 
Collections 1951 
James Duncan Phillips 

Editor’s Note; It is interesting to 
read a particular generation’s 
opinion of history given the context 
of their own time period, such as 
the excerpt below, written in an era 
of heightened anti-communism. 


For the last two hundred years or 
so, the old New England towns 
have had the habit of choosing 
someone to look back on their 

t history and point out whence they 
have come and how they have 
attained their prosperity and 
present happiness. I am aware 
that in the present whirlwind of 
opinions there is little sympathy 
with looking at the past but if some 
of these persons who consider 
themselves progressive and are so 
desirous to rush somewhere, 
anywhere, will do so, they are 
likely to find that all their 
progressive ideas were tired out 
three or four hundred years ago 
and about every fifty years since 
and each time presently rejected 
as foolish. They would save a 
great deal of energy and money if 
they studied history. 

Most persons do not know for 
instance, that the Mayflower 
people established a pure 
^^communistic state at Plymouth 
^P^which failed in a few years, as they 
all do. Gov. Bradford wisely 
remarks “The experience that 


was had in this common course 
and condition, tried sundrie years 
and that among so godly and 
sober men, may well evince the 
vanitie of that conceit of Plato’s 
and other ancients, applauded by 
some of later times, that the taking 
away of propertie and the bringing 
in of communitie into a comone 
wealth would make them happy 
and flourishing as if they were 
wiser than God...” For “this 
communistic was found to breed 
much confusion and discontent 
and retard much imployment that 
would have been to their benefit 
and comforte.” 



Civil War 
General 
Ambrose E. 

Burnside 
was almost 
as dashing 
as George 
Custer. 

In most public appearances, he 
sported a hat so flamboyant that it 
took his name. Defying 
established custom, Burnside 
shaved his chin smooth while 
displaying a full mustache and side 
bar whiskers. Thousands of men 
wore Burnside hats and adopted 
the Burnside style of facial hair. 
Reversal of syllables was a 
common form of word play, and 
thus Burnsides became sideburns. 

Why You Say It, Webb Garrison 



Upcoming Events 

All Hallows Eve Tea 

October 25, 7:30 PM 

Witches Roost Party for Children 

October 27, 2-4 PM 


Kids’ Corner 

By Hannah Barrett 

Ever hear a song 
and not have any 
idea when it’s 
from? Well here 
is a general basis 
of what music genres came from when, 
from 1896 to 2000. 

In 1896 the genre ragtime was born, a 
mix of West Indian rhythm and European 
musical form. In the early 1900’s classical 
music was popular as always, and 
around 1919 jazz and the blues became 
popular when jazz established Chicago 
as its capital. The city became home to 
such great jazz artists as trumpeter Louis 
Armstrong and pianist Jelly Roll Morton. 

In 1932 jazz composer Duke Ellington 
brought in the swing era with “It Don't 
Mean a Thing, If It Ain't Got That Swing.” 
In 1954 rock and roll began gaining in 
popularity. In 1963 a roar of Beatlemania 
hit the U.K. with the introduction of The 
Beatles, a British band starring John 
Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr 
and Paul McCartney. Meanwhile Rolling 
Stones emerged with an aggressive, 
blues-derived kind of style. 

In 1974 Patti Smith released what was 
considered to be the first punk rock 
single, “Hey Joe.” Punk became very 
popular in Britain by the late 1970’s. 

Disco, Michael Jackson and Madonna 
became popular in the 1980’s, along with 
CD’s rather than vinyl records. In 1988 
CD’s began to outsell records for the first 
time. From 1990 to 2000 rock was 
popular, played by bands such as Green 
Day or Nirvana. 

Music Timeline | lnfoplease.com 










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Local Lore November 2013, Issue 102 
The Topsfield Historical Society Newsletter 




WEB Address (http://www.topsfieldhistofv.orQ ^ Email: webmaster@topsfieldhistory.org 



Some Points on Etiquette 

If when making a social call a sec- 
ond visitor arrives, the first caller, 
if she has made a call of sufficient 
length, should after a few minutes 
take her leave. When calling, if a 
lady finds several persons have 
preceded her, she should invariably 
greet the hostess first, ignoring all 
others until this courtesy is shown. 


Upcoming Events 

Kennedy Assassination 

November 15th, 7:30 PM 
Christopher Daley 

Thanksgiving Open House 
at the Capen House 

November 28th 10-12 


On May 10, 1776 the residents of 
every town were asked by the Mas- 
sachusetts Assembly to debate in a 
meeting if the honorable Continen- 
tal Congress should decide that, for 
the safety of the United Colonies, it 
was necessary to declare them inde- 
pendent of Great Britain. The as- 
sembly put the question in an unu- 
^^ually personal way since in British 
law, death and forfeiture of estate 
were the punishment for treason. 

It took until June 21 for a Topsfield 
town meeting to be held, observing 
that “Independence was the greatest 
and most important question that 
ever came before this town.” Even 
the most decisive supporters of sep- 
aration such as the townsmen of 
Topsfield who argued for a declara- 
tion of independence “as soon as 
may be” took care to add that they 
meant not to dictate, but left the 
final decision on “that momentous 
affair to the well-known wisdom, 
prudence, justice and integrity, of 
that honorable body the Continental 
Congress, under whose direction it 
more immediately belongs” since 
^^his was a Congress “of wise and 

^^ood men.” Americxin Scripture- Making the Declara- 
tion of Independence, Pauline Maicr 


Sloan's Cook Book and Advice to Housekeepers, 1905 


Mount Washington History 

Agiocochook is the Native Ameri- 
can name for Mt. Washington, the 
tallest peak in New Hampshire’s 
White Mountains. According to 
legend the Native Americans did 
not climb the mountain because 
they believed that its summit was 
the home of the Great Spirit. 

In 1642 Darby Field became the 
first person to climb it. After the 
American Revolution but before 
Washington became president, 
Jeremy Belknap, the leader of a 
1784 scientific expedition to the 
White Mountains, named the 
peak after Washington. 

The White Mountains, John T. B. Mudge 


THANKS to Kathy Lindquist, Sue 
DiTucci and Sarah Barrett for help- 
ing to make the Witches Roost 
Halloween Party a great success! 


4 ^ 


Kid’s Corner 

by Hannah Barrett 

The guitar is 
a European- 
invented 
instrument. In 1779 a young 
Italian named Gaetano 
Vinaccia created the guitar in 
its earliest form. His family 
was known for crafting man- 
dolins, and he wanted to tiy 
something a bit different with 
the mandolin formula. It was 
not until the 1850’s that An- 
tonio Torres Jurado, from 
Spain, changed the guitar- 
like mandolin to become _more 
of its own instrument, known 
as the guitar. Therefore, 

Spain is where the guitar was 
first developed into its own 
instrument and became very 
much a part of Spain’s musi- 
cal culture. In 1936 George 
Beauchamp invented the 
electric guitar, which is now 
of course used by some of the 
worlds most popular bands. 
And to think it all started 
with a young man’s idea in 
his family’s little old mandolin 
shop long ago. 





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LjwL^Cli LjLII C December 2013, Issuel 

The Topsfield Historical Society Newslettei| 

WEB Address fhttD://www.toPsfieldhistorv.orQ^ Email: webmaster@topsfieldhii 





Jennie Wade 

Human Interest 
Stories of the Battles 
at Gettysburg 


When Jennie Wade, 
twenty year old Gettysburg girl, 
was killed during the three-days 
Battles at Gettysburg while baking 
bread in her sister’s home 
(pictured at right) many saw in 
this tragedy the merciful hand of 
Providence - the only known cure 
for brokenheartedness. Jennie, a 
sweet and pretty miss, was ten- 
derly caring for her sister in the 
latter’s home on Baltimore Street 
jn Gettysburg. Her sister was the 
other of a three-days old baby 
and the gentle, kind-hearted Jen- 
nie devoted her efforts to her sis- 
ter. Few residents of Gettysburg 
at that time believed the Confeder- 
ates would break through the Un- 
ion lines and pass through the 
town. Jennie deemed it safe to 
remain in their home. 




Jennie was baking bread. A few 
Union soldiers passing near the 
home asked for food from Jennie. 
She gladly gave what bread she 
had left of the previous batch. 
Then she busied herself about the 
task of completing her baking. 
While occupied with this task, a 
bullet from the musket of a Con- 
federate, engaged in a skirmish 
earby, pierced the two doors of 
the home, striking Jennie in the 
back and killing her instantly. 


In this tragic death, accidental 
as it was, Jennie was saved the 
heartache and sorrow that 
would have been hers a short 
time later. She never heard of 
the death of her sweetheart. 
Corporal “Jack” Skelly. Their 
childhood friendship had blos- 
somed into love, and they vowed 
they would many when they 
were old enough. Then came 
the war. Jack wrote a letter to 
Jennie renewing his vows of loy- 
alty to the Union and to her. 
Jennie so cherished this letter 
that she carried it in her dress 
next to her heart. Alas, a few 
days later Jennie was killed, 
and in just a few more days 
Jack was killed in Virginia. 



Passages 

Long-time Society 
member and for- 
mer Hospitality 
Committee Chair 
Nancy Hills passed 
away peacefully on 
November 18th at 
the age of 90. She was a life-long 
resident of Topsfield, with a lineage 
going back to the Goulds and 
many other old New England fami- 
lies. She enjoyed her time putting 
on teas and other events for the 
Society. She was my dear and de- 
voted mother. Editor 



Upcoming Events 

Christmas Party 

December 8th, 3 PM 

Sex in the 17th Century 

January 12th, 3 PM 



The use of K 
photograph- ■ 

ic film was 
pioneered by HSfc 
George Eastman. His first 
camera, which he called the 
"Kodak," was first offered for 
sale in 1888. It was a very 
simple box camera with a 
fixed-focus lens and single 
shutter speed, which along 
with its relatively low price 
appealed to the average con- 
sumer. The Kodak came pre- 
loaded with enough film for 
100 exposures and needed to 
be sent back to the factory for 
processing and reloading 
when-the^^oll^as^iinished. By 
the end of the 19th century 
Eastman had expanded his 
lineup to several models in- 
cluding both box and folding 
cameras. 

In 1900, Eastman took mass- 
market photography one step 
further with the Brownie, a 
simple and very inexpensive 
box camera that introduced 
the concept of the snapshot. 
The Brownie was extremely 
popular and various models 
remained on sale until the 
1960s. 


Editor: Anne H. Barrett 



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